What's on Our Mind 3-5-2021

What's On Our Mind


This month, National Women’s History Month, we celebrate the accomplishments of women. For the past four years women were pushed back and denigrated by a misogynistic president and administration. Now we finally have a President who has pledged to uplift the rights of women.

President Joe Biden believes every issue is a women’s issue. He has created a Gender Policy Council which will play a critical role in pushing forward his agenda to further women’s economic and physical security and ensure that women can fully exercise their civil rights.

He has already selected more women for his Cabinet than any other president. Janet Yellen is the first female Treasury Secretary in the U.S.  Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), when confirmed, will be the first female Secretary of the Interior. There are already other history making
achievements for women in his administration.

But no other action will be as lasting or have as great an impact than Biden’s commitment to enshrine gender equality, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), in our Constitution as our 27th amendment.

In January 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, which was the threshold for the amendment to be to be added to the Constitution. However the deadline for states to ratify it expired in 1989. Five states even moved to rescind prior approval.

The anti-choice movement has embraced the battle against the ERA. Abortion restrictions would be deemed unconstitutional because it would discriminate against women.

With a record number of women serving in Congress, a President who has pledged to make the ERA a reality, and a Senate led by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), this could be our best chance to turn the ERA into reality.

Congress is already seizing the opportunity. On the first day of Women’s History month, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced a House resolution which would restart the ERA amendment ratification process.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced her bipartisan bill with 195 co-sponsors removing the ratification time limits imposed by previous Congresses. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced an identical bill in the Senate.

It will be up to Congress to jump start the process, and it will be up to Congress to “enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of (that) article.” It is up to us to push them to get it done.

We need to do more than celebrate our accomplishments. It is vital that we continue to work to advance women’s rights and gender equality. Join with JAC to support candidates who will do exactly that. Elections have consequences.